(Excerpts from this post were taken from an article written by Ross French, and published today on UC RiversideThursday, February 6, 2014.)
During his time at UC Riverside, Cory Butner was what Student Recreation Center Associate Director Mike Eason describes as a “gym rat.” Whether it was working as a SRC staff member in the weight room, playing basketball, or working out himself, when Butner wasn’t in the classroom pursuing his degree in statistics, he could likely be found within the walls of the Student Recreation Center.Now just eight years after earning his degree and six years after taking up the sport of bobsledding, the 32-year old, 6-2, 210-pound Yucaipa native is representing the United States as a pilot of a two-man bobsled at the 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The two-man competition is scheduled for Feb. 16 and 17 at the Sanki Sliding Center.
“Being a part of this team is the best thing to happen to me,” Butner said. “I’m really excited to be representing the USA on the big stage.”
Butner is currently ranked fifth in the world and is in the midst of a strong 2013-14 World Cup campaign that has seen him record bronze medal finishes at Lake Placid on Dec. 14, 2013, and Winterberg, Germany, on Jan. 3. He also has three fourth-place finishes, including the most recent event on Jan. 25 at Schönau am Königsee, Germany. In 2012-13, he won silver medals at the Park City World Cup and Lake Placid World Cup. He finished ninth overall in the competition at the Sochi track and finished the season ranked eighth in the world.
“Most people don’t know about 95 percent of the stuff that goes into racing. You only get to see 5 percent of what we do on TV once every four years,” he said. “Four years for four minutes of racing to prove to the world who is the best.”
A basketball and track athlete at Colton High School, Butner didn’t play intercollegiate sports at UCR, but fed his desire for competition in the weight room and through intramural sports. He credits his sister, Charity — who played volleyball at UCR and graduated in 2000 — with giving him the idea to pursue the bobsled following his graduation in 2005. It’s great to hear stories like this of former UCR alumni. He is truly a champion and reflects the community’s creative side with a desire for lifelong learning.